Monday, January 23, 2012

From the Choir

A column by Robert Bryce appeared in Sunday's (1/22/12) New York Daily news, entitled:
How fracking lies triumphed
A much-needed source of energy has been unjustly maligned
My curiosity screamed at me Who is Robert Bryce? 

Let's connect a couple of dots and find out.

About the writer Robert Bryce:
Center for Energy Policy and the Environment - Manhatten Institute for Policy Research
Robert Bryce - senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute. He has written about the energy business for two decades.
• Oil and Gas Production and Taxation
• Renewable/Alternative Energy
• Climate Change/Cap-and-Trade Legislation
• Nuclear Technology

For two decades, Robert Bryce has written about the energy business. He is the author of four books, including Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, published in April 2010 by PublicAffairs. A New York Times review of 2008’s Gusher of Lies called Bryce “something of a visionary and perhaps even a revolutionary.” Since 2005, he has served as managing editor of Energy Tribune, an online publication that focuses on the global energy sector.
Per Media Matters:  Robert Bryce Is A Senior Fellow At The Manhattan Institute. Bryce is "a senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute." The center "seeks to influence today's energy policy debate by developing and advancing ideas rooted in free-market economic principles" and disseminates its message "through research papers, op-eds and interviews." According to The Manhattan Insitute's 2009 990 form, accessed through, the center had expenses of $496,692. [Manhattan Institute, accessed 10/6/11]

Manhattan Institute Is Funded By ExxonMobil. According to, the Manhattan Institute has received $385,000 from Exxon since 1998, including $50,000 in 2010. [, accessed 9/13/11]

Manhattan Institute Has Received Funding From The Koch Family Foundations. The Manhattan Institute has received over $1.3 million total from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation and the David H. Koch Foundation over the years, both of which are associated with Koch Industries, an oil, gas and chemical corporation. From 2001 to 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available), the Lambe Foundation gave The Manhattan Institute $200,000 annually. The Lambe Foundation's board of directors is "comprised entirely of Koch family members, senior Koch executives, and staff who serve Koch foundations," including the CEO of Koch Industries Charles G. Koch, according to Greenpeace. [Greenpeace, accessed 10/7/11]

Per Sourcewatch: Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Bryce was a featured speaker at the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Meeting, at a Workshop titled "Unconventional Revolution: How Technological Advancements Have Transformed Energy Production in the United States." The panel served as advocacy for the controversial drilling process for natural gas, called fracking.[2]

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) They fund almost all of ALEC's operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. It might be right. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door. Learn more at

Now you know a bit more.  Bryce and others are part of the choir, part of the echo chamber.   In my "googling" to connect the dots, I happened upon a PR firm called "Story Partners".   The name couldn't be more obvious.  All PR firms create frames, spin, narratives and "stories" to promote their client's product or message.

Story Partners intrigued me, I went looking a bit more and found their statements which exemplifies the entire "message" industry.
Story Partners, a public affairs firm focused on helping trade associations, corporations and coalitions amplify their story through carefully aligned online and offline campaigns designed to drive public policy debates.
Our Story
Our principals have an extensive history of developing and executing strategies that make a difference – whether our clients are trying to influence a public debate, define and dominate a market, or successfully position an executive team.

Our philosophy is simple: leverage your story through compelling messages, amplify your story through an echo chamber of friends and allies, and broadcast your story through every communications channel available.
I find no connection between Bryce and Story Partners at this time.  The purpose of the excerpts from Story Partners is to show the purpose of PR firms, and perhaps enlighten you as to how the public is being manipulated.

I strongly recommend reading Trust Us We're Experts, it's not a long book, it's very informative, and I'll bet before you finish the first couple of chapters that you will NEVER look at an advertising campaign the same.

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